A modern rendition of the prominent Biblical plot, The Last Supper by Lorna May Wadsworth, has been discovered to have a peculiar defect that looks like a bullet hole, The Independent reports. The mysterious mark, which was left by an air rifle shot, ballistic experts have confirmed, has damaged Jesus Christ’s figure, modelled on Jamaican-born model Tafari Hinds.
The discovery was reportedly made as The Last Supper, which was on display in a Gloucestershire country church for several years, was being prepared for an exhibition at the Graves Gallery in Sheffield.
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My Last Supper altarpiece has been brought to Sheffield to form the centrepiece of my retrospective GAZE at Graves Gallery @museumssheffield from St George’s Church Nailsworth in the Cotswolds. When prepping for the show I discovered that Christ has received what looks to be a bullet wound in his side, an air rifle pellet having done serious damage to an area the side of an old 50p piece. When I shared this sad news with my brilliant medievalist art historian friend @emilyguerry she pointed out that the aluminium panel has been damaged at the exact point the Roman soldier pierced Christ’s side to check he was dead, and that this is the wound it is said the resurrected Christ invited his disciples to place their hands into and ‘do not doubt but believe’. “The great irony and paradox of Christ’s death is that the very act of violence of his crucifixion adds to the strength of his passion. In the same way the iconographic impact of this damage is uncanny and potentially spiritually significant.” At any rate, this act of iconoclasm has piqued the interest of @guardian which tonight featured a story on the damage to the painting and its presence in my retrospective. Lemons to lemonade I guess. What a fluke. If the bullet pellet had hit the painting anywhere else it would not have imbued it with this meaning. Anywhere else and it would most likely have been in a spot where the distortion do the metal would have ruined the entire 12 foot painting... Link to the article in bio...
In her statement, the artist, who started working on her version of the iconic Biblical scene in 2008, said that some had speculated that the hole could represent Jesus’ fatal wound from a Roman soldier during the crucifixion, as the hole is on the right sight of the Saviour.
However, the idea that this act might have something to do with the skin colour of Wadsworth’s Jesus was floated by the British outlet, which published photos of the damaged picture as well. The artist, however, hopes that “it was just mindless vandalism as the alternative is too horrible to contemplate”.
“Initially, when I first saw the damage, I was so upset that I considered pulling the painting from the exhibition. However, it was also very important to me that whoever did the damage didn’t ‘win’”, she said in the statement.